Running a business is no easy task and by now, most business owners are aware of the importance of owning a website.
For most of us, the thought of building our own website is not something we would even remotely consider. We are plagued with questions like, what on earth is a domain and where and what does registration entail? How long will it take to complete a site and what are the costs? We tell ourselves that we are simply not qualified to deal with scripts and coding and that perhaps something of this magnitude is best to leave it to the professionals.
Yes, you could leave it to those “better qualified” but for those of us brave enough to dare, the process, though a little complex, is much easier and more cost-effective than you think.
According to Forbes “The amount of users on the web has grown 200% each year over the past 3 years. If you look at a Fortune 500 company, then you will notice that almost all of them have a website. A well-done website communicates to a potential client that your company is professional and is doing well.”
In this issue we take a look at the following:
- The benefits of owning your own website
- Pre-design preparation
Understanding what a domain name is and the building blocks needed for the foundation phase for building your own website such as:
- Domain Names
- Web-Site building platforms – WordPress etc
- Easy to follow guidelines on ho
The Benefits of Owning and Building Your Own Web-Site
In today’s modern age it’s clear that no website means you’re missing out on opportunities for customers to identify who you are and whether or not they want to spend their money with you.
Here are a few of the benefits of owning your own website:
- Having your own website will increase your potential target market and provide more exposure.
- A website is a more friendly and cost-effective means of advertising and marketing. There are many ways to advertise your products or services through the internet. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to name a few and Search Engine Optimisation, (SEO), will boost the ranking of your website which can quickly result in increased sales and higher profits.
- Most businesses have local popularity, but what about potential customers outside your city? The internet offers a global community and a website will not only help to generate more customers from outside your city but also allow your business to be visible around the world.
- Relationship building is an essential part of running a successful business and a website will enable you to respond to online queries quicker. It also allows potential customers to leave comments/feedback which can be used for marketing and product improvement purposes.
- A website is a convenient way for potential customers to purchase products, obtain information on products or services on offer, or simply contact your business.
- An online site means you never have to close your doors and potential customers are not subject to conventional working hours. People are more likely to search the internet as opposed to physically shopping around.
Peace of Mind
- Having your own website means you have control over all aspects thereof. From content and graphics to layout and format. You determine the kind of information you wish to share and the message you wish to convey.
- In addition to this, there is the added sense of pride and accomplishment in knowing that you have created your own site.
The guidelines that follow include all the steps you need to take to build the foundation needed before you can begin with the actual template selection and design of your website.
- Sign up and select a package:
Your hosting company will “house” your website, deal with issues such as the registration of your domain name, manage your e-mails and provide technical support when needed.
This will be the name you select to represent your company, e.g. (yourcompanyname.com/.net/.co.za etc.).
It is advisable to have a selection of at least 3 Domain Names as it is quite possible that at least one of your chosen names already exists.
Remember, your Web-Hosting company can check the availability of your chosen Domain Names for you.
- Once you have your Domain Name, you now need to have it registered in your name. Your Web-Hosting company can also register your Domain name with the Registrar on your behalf.
- A registration fee is payable to the Registrar on registration of your Domain Name. Thereafter, there is an annual renewal fee which is also payable to the registrar. This is to ensure that your Domain remains registered and in your name.
- Once you have selected a package from your Web-hosting company, an email will be sent to you containing your Control Panel, (cPanel) login details.
- Using the login details provided, log into cPanel and select Login.
cPanel also allows you to create your own e-mail address. Simply select the “E-mail” icon and follow the prompts.
- Once you have logged in to cPanel, scroll down to the Softaculous banner
- Select the platform you wish to use. The most common platforms used are:
Although all these platforms have their merits, statistics have shown that at least 80% of the top 10 million website users choose WordPress as their platform of choice. It is by far one of the easiest platforms to work with and it is suitable enough for everyone from small business owners and bloggers to creative writers and freelancers. I recommend that beginners or novice website builders use WordPress. For this reason, we will focus on WordPress as our platform of choice.
- Select the WordPress icon:
- Once you have selected the WordPress icon, the WordPress Installation page will appear. From then on you simply follow the prompts until the process is complete.
- On completion of your WordPress installation, an email will be sent to you providing you with your WordPress login details.
5 Key Benefits of WordPress:
- Themes allow you to change the design of your website quickly. There are thousands of themes available for WordPress.
- Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of your WordPress site without knowing how to program. There are over 10,000 plugins available to help you add all kinds of functionality like social media sharing, SEO, photo slideshows, and much more to your site.
- They are easy to update. If you can create a Word document, you can publish a new article to your WordPress website. Once it is set up, you can update it anytime you want, and that is important for engagement with your visitors and for search engine optimisation, SEO.
- Google loves WordPress sites. Because they are updated more frequently, and the content tends to be structured well, you can get a WordPress site ranking very quickly compared to a static website. Google has even gone on record as recommending WordPress for business sites.
- WordPress is supported by a thriving, engaged community. A recent study estimates that approximately 80% of the sites on the Internet are run by WordPress. There are thousands of designers, developers and enthusiasts out there to help if you get stuck. Help can be found via your Hosting Company or at https://wordpress.org/about/
Finally always remember to double check that all you have done is correct before you move on to the next step.
“Don’t worry about failure, you only have to be right once.” —Drew Houston, Dropbox founder and CEO”
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ’s:
Q – Can I build a website without any design or coding skills?
A – Yes, the platform you choose to use will have tutorials on their official websites. Your Web-Hosting company will also be able to assist you.
Q – Can I install WordPress offline on my local computer?
A – Although it can be done, this is generally not recommended for “newbies” as it can become very technical. However, it is doable. Your Web-Hosting company can also assist with this.
Q – Can I use HTML in WordPress?
A – WordPress allows you to use HTML markup. For example, in posts and pages, you can switch to “text” mode to add markups and tags. WordPress themes are also built using HTML.
Q – Do I have full access?
A – Yes. The fact that you have chosen your password means that only you have access to your site.
Q – Can I provide usernames and passwords?
A – Yes. Should you want additional users to access your site for administrative purposes.
In our next article, we will discuss how to go about getting your website up and running. From selecting themes to adding content and images. We will assist you in navigating WordPress to ensure that you have the tools you need to empower you to design your own site without having to pay professionals exorbitant fees to do it for you. Keep in mind though that your hosting company is always on hand to assist should you need it. There are also numerous tutorials available on the internet should you require more in-depth information.
“The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something.” —Seth Godin, Squidoo founder, author and blogger”.